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In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart: Hope for the Hurting Hardcover – July 20, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

By turns memoir, Bible study and self-help book, Graham's platform as the daughter of beloved evangelist Billy Graham gives her the credentials to spin this competent tale of brokenness. But she offers more than a famous lineage: "I am qualified to write this book because I am flawed," she writes. She shares her struggles parenting three children through out-of-wedlock pregnancies, drug use and bulimia; her battle with depression and flirtation with suicide, and her disappointment over her two divorces. "I know what it's like to sit in the pew with a broken heart," says Graham. It's her vulnerability in the memoir portions that lend credence to the fairly basic application items at the end of the chapters. (Advice to those experiencing suffering: "seek godly counsel" and "maintain your daily devotional times with God.") Graham finds solace for the brokenhearted through scripture, looking at the lives of Jeremiah, Elijah and other biblical examples. Unlike many inspirational books of this ilk, there's no fairytale ending. Graham admits she is in the midst of a third faltering marriage, but says she's grateful God accepts her as she is—"hurting, wounded, broken." In true Graham fashion, the book concludes with an altar call. Weary Christians disappointed with the way their lives have turned out should find this a heartening read.
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Review

By turns memoir, Bible study and self-help book, Graham\rquote s platform as the daughter of beloved evangelist Billy Graham gives her the credentials to spin this competent tale of brokenness. But she offers more than a famous lineage: 'I am qualified to write this book because I am flawed,' she writes. She shares her struggles parenting three children through out-of-wedlock pregnancies, drug abuse and bulimia; her battle with depression and flirtation with suicide, and her disappointment over two divorces. 'I know what it's like to sit in the pew with a broken heart,' says Graham. It's her vulnerability in the memoir portions that lend credence to the fairly basic application items at the end of the chapters. (Advice to those experiencing suffering: 'seek godly counsel' and 'maintain your daily devotional times with God.' Graham finds solace for the brokenhearted through scripture, looking at the lives of Jeremiah, Elijah and other biblical examples. Unlike many inspirational books of this ilk, there's no fairytale ending. Graham admits she is in the midst of a third faltering marriage, but she says she's grateful God accepts her as she is -- 'hurting, wounded, broken.' In true Graham fashion, the book concludes with an altar call. Weary Christians disappointed with the way their lives have turned out should find this a heartening read. -- Publishers Weekly <br><br> (Publishers Weekly )
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 1 edition (July 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310264006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310264002
  • ASIN: 0310243394
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
After reading some of the reviews for Ruth Graham's book I can understand why Christians don't open up about the struggles,sins and problems in their lives. None of us are without sin and never will be. No one is perfect! It took courage to tell her story and the comments in some of the reviews verify why she kept slient all those years.

Ms. Graham states at the beginning of her book that she followed her own path and would have to face the consequences. I thank her for letting others know that whatever choices we make in our lives, whatever struggles we face that we are not alone. God is a loving God and He is with us always.

The scriptures and the sections "For the One Who Cares" are very insightful,uplifting and encouraging.

Comment to the reviewers. Yes, God will bring other Christians into our lives but He will not make them treat us Godly. The Godly person we marry has a choice/free will to how they treat us. The Godly person we marry could turn to abuse, be unfaithful, be into pornography or a number of other things that could cause the marriage to end which we can not control.

People need to walk in love and compassion instead of judging the lives of others.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I was looking for encouragement from someone who has "been there." Ruth honestly describes the gut-wrenching emotions and devastating ramifications of her experiences, and she shares some very good thoughts on repentance, God's forgiveness, and setting boundaries. She also speaks to caregivers from a standpoint of knowing from experience what is helpful. The book cover and reviews speak of her struggles, but not until the end of the book does the reader see the grip that her struggles have on her even as she is writing. Her struggles do not disqualify her from having something of value to say. But I am concerned that she is--and has been in recent years--looked to as a source of inspiration and maybe even authority to those going through difficult times. She talks about falling completely into the arms of the Lord and leads her readers in that direction, but it is painfully apparent at the end of the book that she still has serious issues with that, and one is left wondering whether she trusts God with abandon even at this point. The choices she has continued to make almost seem to indicate that she doesn't believe He is as trustworthy as she is telling us He is. Certainly one does not have to be flawless to have a testimony, and Ruth rightly points out that it is the very fact that she is flawed that qualifies her to testify of God's grace and forgiveness. But I came away from this book unconvinced that she has allowed herself to experience the depth of healing and develop the trust that she talks about. And that part of me wants to say, "Show me by your life that you believe what you say." That doesn't happen overnight, and none of us ever completely "arrive.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
With great respect to Ruth Graham I give this review. She is to be commended for her candor and the beautiful way she organized and shared the valuable lessons she learned from her suffering. The voice of this review is humble, soft and gentle. I am aware that all of us are all struggling to walk this walk of life. And especially if we are Christians, we are struggling to walk it with God in Christ, and there is much we can learn from each other's walk.

I began reading this book with hopes and even encouraged others to read it. However, as I got further into it, I started to see a pattern of what appeared to be a misuse (or misunderstanding, if you will) of God's grace, love and acceptance. Certainly ALL of what Ms Graham shares about His total embracing of us is true, but Scripture is very clear that when we violate His principles there will be consequences. She alludes to a few of these, however if this is supposed to be a book with advice, it was not made clear to the reader what these violations were and what were the corresponding consequences. Instead, she whisks these painful results away with a trite 'sounding', "God is going to take care of it all" mentality. There was no hope given for avoiding these pitfalls.

Even though Ms Graham can be commended for her candor, (and we certainly do need much more of that type of transparency in the Christian world..."confess your faults to one another that you may be healed",) to not share the correlation between the violation of God's principles and the consequences we go through is to miss the major part of the lesson He is desiring for His people to learn. In otherwords, if we avoid violating His ways as He teaches us in His Word, we can avoid experiencing the negative consequences.
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Format: Hardcover
I will give Ruth Graham credit for one thing and one thing only; she shares very openly about her life.

But there are several very problematic issues with the book: firstly, she comes pretty close to blaming God for every incident in her life. She says things like "but God wanted it differently" all the time when something really bad happens. Probably, she wanted to say that God is always supporting us unconditionally - even when we face consequences of our own poor choices and living in a fallen world. Secondly, she gives some horrible, horrible advice on parenting. I was totally shocked that no editors had the nerve to remove or totally rewrite the parts about her daughter's first pregnancy and her manipulative and destructive behaviour towards her daughter. Thirdly, she is in the process of her third divorce as this book is being published. If she wants to have any credibility, she waits a year or two before publishing so that she could have gained some perspective at least. That's actually advice she gives in the book. Why doesn't she practice what she preaches?

In conclusion, the book tells of an interesting life, but is packed with poor theology and even worse psychology and advice. Stay away!
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